The NBA has announced a new initiative in their support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The league and NBA Foundation are partnering for a new annual fellowship program HBCU students and the first-ever NBA HBCU Classic. The HBCU Classic will be played in the All-Star Weekend in Cleveland as a part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NBA.

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The NBA HBCU Classic will build off the success of the 2021 NBA All-Star game. The game will feature a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) matchup between Howard University and Morgan State University men’s basketball teams. The game will be played at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland on February 19, 2022, and will be broadcast live.

“Howard University is incredibly proud to take part in the HBCU Classic during this year’s NBA All-Star,” said Howard University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kery Davis.  The NBA and HBCUs are natural partners because of our rich legacy elevating under-represented communities and our shared passion for cultivating opportunities for people of color.  We appreciate the NBA’s commitment to supporting our institutions, and we are excited to showcase the on- and off-the-court talent and excellence that has come to define student-athletes from the MEAC and HBCUs.”


“As an association, the NBA should be commended for the foresight and willingness to address important issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Morgan State University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Ed Scott. “The creation of the NBA HBCU Classic is a clear demonstration of the NBA’s commitment to promoting HBCUs and showcasing the talented young men and women on our campuses.” 

During NBA All-Star, more than $1 million will be contributed in support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and academic institutions.

“The NBA family recognizes the storied and prominent role that HBCUs have played in our society for decades.  We also recognize that within our commitments to increase Black representation across the league and grow the game, we can create educational, athletic and career opportunities through engagement with these institutions.  Through continued collaboration with partners like TMCF and UNCF, our teams and members of the HBCU community, we look forward to expanding support of students and alumni in meaningful ways.”

– NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tatum

Launching in 2022, the NBA and its teams will offer a new paid fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students.  The program, which will be led by the NBA Foundation, will offer HBCU students the opportunity to gain real-life insights and professional experience around the business and operations of basketball. The students will work in positions at the league office and NBA and WNBA teams, and be matched with a league or team employee mentor as part of their experience.  Applications for the program will open on in the coming months.

In addition, the NBA, G League and Basketball Africa League will leverage their pre-Draft combines and showcase events for HBCU players, coaches and athletic trainers. HBCU alumni and Black entrepreneurs will partner with the league as part of the NBA’s commitment to onboarding more minority-owned businesses as league licensees.

You can learn more about the NBA’s HBCU support expansion here.